Slow, Subjective and Stressful: A Guide to Canada's Asylum System

  • Robert Falconer University of Calgary The School of Public Policy

Abstract

This paper is the second in a series of papers on Canada’ asylum system. The first paper, Ping-pong Asylum, took us to the border, and outlined the issues behind the recent influx of people crossing there. This paper focuses on what happens to those people, and other asylum seekers, once they are inside Canada. The analysis shows that Canada’s asylum system is not an easy path to living in Canada or gaining citizenship. Asylum seekers or Canadian citizens who think asylum is a form of queue jumping or circumventing normal immigration pathways are mistaken. It is a complex web of agencies and steps. This complexity partially results from the due process granted to asylum seekers. It is also the result of evolving bureaucracies and case management systems impacted by political agendas and sudden surges in asylum seeker numbers. This complex system does not lend itself well to a quick resolution of an asylum seeker’s case, and it does not respond efficiently to large numbers in a short time span.

Author Biography

Robert Falconer, University of Calgary The School of Public Policy

Research Assistant

The School of Public Policy

References

Making a Claim.” 2019. In Claiming Refugee Protection. Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada. https://irb-cisr.gc.ca/en/applying-refugee-protection/Pages/index.aspx.

Providing the Basis for Your Claim.” 2019. In Claiming Refugee Protection. Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada. https://irb-cisr.gc.ca/en/applying-refugee-protection/Pages/index2.aspx.

Attending Your Hearing.” 2019. In Claiming Refugee Protection. Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada. https://irb-cisr.gc.ca/en/applying-refugee-protection/Pages/index4.aspx.

Receiving Your Decision.” 2019. In Claiming Refugee Protection. Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada. https://irb-cisr.gc.ca/en/applying-refugee-protection/Pages/index5.aspx.

Appellant’s Guide. 2017. Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada. https://irb-cisr.gc.ca/en/refugee-appeals/Pages/RefAppGuide.aspx.

“Arrests, Detentions and Removals: Removal from Canada.” 2019. In Securing the Border. Canada Border Services Agency. https://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/security-securite/rem-ren-eng.html.

Asylum Claims. 2019. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada. https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/services/refugees/asylum-claims.html.

Camilleri, Michael, and Fen Hampson. 2018. No Strangers at the Gate: Collective Responsibility and a Region’s Response to the Venezuelan Refugee and Migration Crisis. 1st ed. Washington D.C.: Centre for International Governance Innovation and Inter-American Dialogue. https://www.cigionline.org/sites/default/files/documents/CIGI_IAD_Venezuela_report-English-final.pdf.

“Canada-U.S. Safe Third Country Agreement.” 2016. Government of Canada. http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/department/laws-policy/menu-safethird.asp.

“Canada - Asylum Claimants by Top 25 Countries of Citizenship and Claim Office Type, Claim Year 2018.” 2018. In Asylum Claimants – Monthly IRCC Updates. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada. http://www.cic.gc.ca/opendata-donneesouvertes/data/IRCC_M_AC_0004_E.xls.

Canada Border Services Agency. 2019. Canada Border Services Agency. https://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/menu-eng.html.

“Chapter 5: Well-Founded Fear.” 2018. In Interpretation of the Convention Refugee Definition in the Case Law. Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada. https://irb-cisr.gc.ca/en/legal-policy/legal-concepts/Pages/RefDef05.aspx.

Chase, Steven, and Tamara Baluja. 2012. “Kenney Tightens Rules for Questionable Asylum Seekers.” The Globe and Mail, February 16. https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/kenney-tightens-rules-for-questionable-asylum-seekers/article546796/.

“Claiming Asylum in Canada – What Happens?” 2017. Government of Canada. https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/news/2017/03/claiming_asylum_incanadawhathappens.html.

Costing Irregular Migration across Canada’s Southern Border. 2018. Ottawa: Office of the Parliamentary Budget Officer.

“Country Chapters: Canada.” 2018. In UNHCR Resettlement Handbook, 1–22. United Nations High Comissioner for Refugees. https://www.unhcr.org/3c5e55594.pdf.

Departmental Performance Report. 2010. Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada.

———. Departmental Performance Report. 2017. Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada.

Evaluation of the In-Canada Asylum System Reforms. 2016. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada. https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/corporate/reports-statistics/evaluations/canada-asylum-system-reforms.html#toc4-4-1.

Falconer, Robert. 2019. “Ping-Pong Asylum: Renegotiating the Safe Third Country Agreement.” The School of Public Policy Publications 12 (13). https://www.policyschool.ca/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Ping-Pong-Asylum-Falconer.pdf.

Find out If You’re Eligible – Refugee Status from inside Canada. 2017. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada. https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/services/refugees/claim-protection-inside-canada/eligibility.html.

Global News. 2017. “Haitian-Born Liberal MP off to Miami over Asylum Seekers Coming to Canada,” August 21. https://globalnews.ca/news/3685246/haitian-born-liberal-mp-off-to-miami-over-asylum-seekers-coming-to-canada/.

Guidance on Interpreting the Definition of a Convention Refugee. 2013. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada. https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/corporate/publications-manuals/operational-bulletins-manuals/refugee-protection/resettlement/eligibility/guidance-on-interpreting-definition-convention-refugee.html.

History. n.d. The Kim Foundation International.

http://www.kimfoundation.com/modules/contentpage/index.php?file=story.htm&ma=20&subid=201.

Humanitarian and Compassionate Grounds. 2017. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada. https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/services/refugees/claim-protection-inside-canada/after-apply-next-steps/refusal-options/humanitarian-compassionate-grounds.html.

IFHP Info Sheet. 2012. Citizenship and Immigration Canada.

http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/refugees/outside/ifhp-info-sheet.asp.

Internal Audit of Operation Syrian Refugees Identification and Processing. 2017. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada. https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/corporate/reports-statistics/audits/operation-syrian-refugees-identification-processing.html#conclusion.

IRB Issues New Instructions Governing the Streaming of Less Complex Claims at the Refugee Protection Division. 2019. Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada. https://irb-cisr.gc.ca/en/news/2019/Pages/less-complex-claims-rpd.aspx.

Less Complex Claims: The Short-Hearing and File-Review Processes. 2019. Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada. https://irb-cisr.gc.ca/en/information-sheets/Pages/less-complex-claims.aspx.

Lu, Yuqian, Marc Frenette, and Grant Schellenberg. 2015. Social Assistance Receipt Among Refugee Claimants in Canada. Statistics Canada. http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/11-626-x/11-626-x2015051-eng.htm.

Pre-Removal Risk Assessment – Refugee Claims in Canada. 2017. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada. https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/services/refugees/claim-protection-inside-canada/after-apply-next-steps/refusal-options/pre-removal-risk-assessment.html.

Process Chart. n.d. FCJ Refugee Centre. https://www.fcjrefugeecentre.org/our-programs/immigration-and-refugee-protection/canadas-refugee-process/process-chart/.

“Refugee Claims.” 2017. Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada. Accessed October 16. http://www.irb-cisr.gc.ca/Eng/NewsNouv/info/Pages/FactRpdSpr.aspx.

Refugee Claims in Canada—Options for Refused Applicants. 2017. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada. https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/services/refugees/claim-protection-inside-canada/after-apply-next-steps/refusal-options.html.

Restoring Fairness to the Interim Federal Health Program. 2016. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada. https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/news/2016/02/restoring-fairness-to-the-interim-federal-health-program.html.

Secretary Kelly’s Statement on the Limited Extension of Haiti’s Designation for Temporary Protected Status. 2017. Department of Homeland Security. https://www.dhs.gov/news/2017/05/22/secretary-kellys-statement-limited-extension-haitis-designation-temporary-protected.

Showler, Peter. 2009. Fast, Fair and Final: Reforming Canada’s Refugee System. Maytree Foundation. https://maytree.com/wp-content/uploads/FastFairAndFinal.pdf.

The Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada Changes How Refugee Hearings Are Scheduled. 2018. Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada. https://irb-cisr.gc.ca/en/news/2018/Pages/hearing-schedule.aspx.

Trudeau, Justin. 2017. No Title. Twitter.

https://twitter.com/justintrudeau/status/825438460265762816.

Vineberg, Robert. 2018. “Canada’s Refugee Strategy: How It Can Be Improved.” Canadian Global Affairs Institute 11 (April): 0–17. doi:10.11575/sppp.v11i0.43344.

Yeates, Neil, and Samar Abou-Assaf. 2018. Report of the Independent Review of the Immigration and Refugee Board: A Systems Management Approach to Asylum. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada. https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/corporate/publications-manuals/report-independent-review-immigration-and-refugee-board.html.

Published
2019-08-16
Section
Briefing Papers